What are the Best Student Loans for Graduate Students?

21st March 2022

What are the Best Student Loans for Graduate Students?

With so much of everyone's focus centered on undergraduate students, graduate students can often feel lost in the shuffle. The truth is that graduate students need financial aid to help pay for their educations just like everyone else. That can often mean taking out graduate school loans.

This means that graduate students should still fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for federal financial aid like Direct Loans and work-study programs (graduate students are not eligible for the Pell Grant). Graduate students should also remain mindful when it comes to filing with the Residency Determination Service.

As a grad student, there's a good chance you'll file as an independent student on the FAFSA, and there's a chance you may qualify for in-state tuition. It's all a matter of how long you've lived in the state and your state and institution's specific rules.

Grad Students Worry About More Than Just Tuition

Graduate students come in a wide range of ages and dispositions. While there are plenty of students who choose to enter graduate school directly following their undergraduate degree, there are just as many students who choose to pursue a graduate degree later in life. Graduate students ilies or other bills that a typical undergraduate student doesn't have to worry about.

Even with financial aid, scholarships, grants,and fellowships, it can be difficult for graduate students to make ends meet. Thankfully, there are student loans available that are designed to help graduate students bridge the gap between financial aid and the cost of attending school. Here are a few of the best graduate student loans and tips for prospective students who want to apply for them.

Federal Stafford Loans

Just like with your undergraduate degree, one of your first payday loans South Carolina options for graduate school is a Stafford Loan. These are fixed-rate direct unsubsidized loans provided by the federal government. However, like may federal student loans, there are origination fees associated with these loans that can impact how much students must pay back. First, let's explain what you need to know about subsidized versus unsubsidized student loans.

What is the Difference Between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, it's important to point out the differences between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. The main difference between a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan is who can use them, and when you'll start paying interest on the loan.

Subsidized loans are federal student loans designed only for undergraduate students with financial need. With a subsidized loan, the U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest on the loan if you're enrolled in the semester at least half-time (taking six credit hours). The Department of Education will also pay the interest for the first six months after you leave school (also known as the "grace period"). You start accruing and paying interest after the grace period is over. You don't pay interest that accrued while in school or during the grace period. This is the chunk of interest the government pays for or "subsidizes."

By comparison, federal unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduate students and graduate students. Furthermore, borrowers don't have to demonstrate financial need to qualify for an unsubsidized federal loan.

However, interest will begin accruing on an unsubsidized loan as soon as the money is sent out. Borrowers who choose not to pay interest while they're still in school will see that interest capitalized on their loan. Capitalization is when a lender takes any unpaid interest from a loan (like interest accrued while the borrower was in school) and adds that back into the principal amount.